Teenagers at Web 2.0 10 Oct 2005

21 comments Latest by Dan Hartung

Kareem has some good notes from the popular Web 2.0: Conversation with Five Teenagers. Enlightening stuff.

Some interesting quotes:

I have 10 paid songs out of 1500 on my iPod… I never pay for downloading a song, I go to a friend’s house to get their music
QUESTION: What comes to mind when I say “Yahoo?” [A] didn’t really exist until recently when I met a couple guys who use Yahoo Messenger. QUESTION: What about “eBay?” [A] Used to buy books from amazon, nobody uses eBay.

Oh, and the other thing that was really interesting was that the kids didn’t know what Skype was.

21 comments (comments are closed)

sj 10 Oct 05

Back in college, I had an internship with a guy named Bob Taber. He was pretty well-known in the advertising community, and had a talk he used to give on the way products move through the teenage market. His premise was that teens look at marketing messages with even more scrutiny than the population at large, and their decision to adopt new products is by and large a result of what “the fringes” are doing. Kids in white suburbia adopting the hip-hop culture is the most popular example, but they also take trends from 7 or 8 other “fringe groups” as well. His point - whatever world it is that we as marketers are living in, the teen market is in a completely different place. They reading different publications, browsing different websites, talking to different people, and their decisions about what’s cool or interesting look almost nothing like ours.

This point was driven home to me in the past 12 months at my job. A big part of what I do in helping our company develop new sites and applications is interview high school and college students to get their feedback. It’s almost funny - most of what we think appeals to them doesn’t in the slightest. A lot of the sites they send us to (MTV, Teen People, etc.) break tons of principles that we’ve taken to be law. In other words, they like everything we don’t and aren’t interested in most of what we create for them. If it weren’t for this regular dialogue, we’d be creating a body of work that makes school administrators extremely happy but wouldn’t be a blip on the radar of their audience. I find myself constantly having to re-learn what I know about marketing and about the web by talking to these kids.

I also pick up lots of new booger jokes.

Rob Poitras 10 Oct 05

I go to Cal State Hayward and a very high majority of people have no idea what tagging, flickr, or blogs are. I am talking about biz majors too. There is a huge gap between people that are into net technologies and don’t care at all.

Jamie 10 Oct 05

It doesn’t surprise me that teenagers don’t know what Skype is. They would either a) use a cell phone or b) email or IM to get in touch with their teen posse.

glasser 10 Oct 05

Kids don’t know what Skype is? Well, sure. You think they pay their phone bills?

scott 10 Oct 05

High school kids may not know what Skype is, but once us college folk disperse around the globe for semesters abroad, Skype becomes a popular way for college kids to keep in touch.

Jeff Wheeler 10 Oct 05

Heh. Wouldn’t have ever expected this from fellow teenagers. I know many of my friends don’t use Skype and the like, but most all of them know plenty about Yahoo and eBay.

Don Wilson 10 Oct 05

I wouldn’t know what Skype is without reading blogs like this.

Zane 10 Oct 05

The link didn’t work for me, but the summary sounds pretty anecdotal. I don’t know that we can determine any patterns in behavior from five people. A larger data set would probably indicate much different results.

That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if many didn’t know about Skype, tagging, flickr, etc. I don’t know anyone who uses these things and who isn’t a tech professional in some way. Of course that’s just more anecdotal data…

toby 10 Oct 05

I work with a lot of technically-skilled-but-not-web-geek types in the biotech industry and none of them have heard of tagging, flickr or Web 2.0; use Yahoo or Skype; or have more than a passing understanding of what blogs are (“who would want to read someone’s online diary?”)

It’s amazing to me to read blogs by web consultants, online marketing gurus, etc. and see what an echo-chamber this really is. It might be worth going to some industry conferences and see what technical issues other people have before creating yet-another-social-wiki-blog-ajax app.

Dave Simon 10 Oct 05

How in the world can someone spend hundreds of dollars a month on ringtones?

Darrel 10 Oct 05

5 is hardly a representative group.

Teenager 10 Oct 05

Most of the calls I make are within the city…?

Carl 10 Oct 05

This isn’t surprising.

I don’t know anybody outside of my coworkers that purchase music on iTunes or other online audio stores.

I would wager to bet that nobody outside of my coworkers knows what Skype is either.

The average person doesn’t know wtf this stuff is. We do, because we work in this industry (atleast i’m sure most people reading this blog work in the internet industry) and follow this stuff.

Bob 10 Oct 05

The other thing to remember is that they like these things *because* we don’t and we’re not there. As soon as we figure it out, they’ll leave for the next thing…

Jack 10 Oct 05

My daughter, 16, keeps reminding me that “no one uses email.”

Apparently, online communication with friends is done via IM and Xanga. It’s wierd.

busse 10 Oct 05

I think a fundamental difference between using email and IM (as it relates to professionals vs. teenagers) is that with email it is easier to reference past communications.

Teenages don’t need email documentation to CYA — the main reason I don’t delete my email. “The auditors are here and they’re wondering why your program ads an extra 0.49 before rounding.” … well, lemme dig up that old email…

I use IM frequently in a business environment with teamembers actively engaged in the same project I’m in, but never use IM with a client or superior.

NoDuh 11 Oct 05

What a surprise, teenagers that make $6.15 per hour aren’t driving the economy or the adoption of new technology. Wow.

I was an athlete when I was a teenager, I didn’t watch the NFL on Sunday, I played with friends. Similarly, if I was a teen today, I wouldn’t be sitting on my ass Skyping my friends, I’d be out tipping over cars and trying to hook up with girls.

You guys can’t be *this* nerdy, that you’re actually surprised that kids couldn’t care less about Web 2.0, Ruby on Rails, or Backpack.

Web 2.0 represents just that, the second bubble driven by interest from within the industry and no where else. I love Web 2.0, Ajax, ASPs, etc. My wife just wants me to take out the garbage and stop beeping on about the web like a robot. My kids (if they were teenagers) would just want money and a ride to the mall/beach/woods/insert place where kids congregate here.

James Weirick 12 Oct 05

Being a teenager, those don’t supprise me at all. I know what skype is, but I never use it, that’s what cell phones are for. Yahoo has nothing we want except IM and occasionally free email. And as for music piracy, its a matter of supply, we don’t have money supply to justify ten bucks for a CD, nor can we get our parents to buy them because parents don’t like “Parental Advisory” stickers.

Brian L. 12 Oct 05

“Q: Assume i give you $100, what would you spend it on…

Sean: save it for a surfboard…”

Good to see all is not lost on kids today.

Dan Hartung 13 Oct 05

If I had a surfboard that told me where my friends are surfing and had a nifty AJAX interface …

MySpace shows that kids like social software when it fits their lifestyle. They probably don’t care much about AJAX but then AJAX is all about finessing the visual experience, and true MySpacers spend a lot of time hacking their own.

Tagging and other features are probably no great hurdle for most people, but they need to complement what they’re trying to get done, not be a feature in themselves.